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What Exactly Is Common Sense? We All Think We Have It. Options
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 12:28:04 PM

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What exactly is common sense?

Why do humans not use facts, heed warnings, and even learn from past mistakes or have short term memory problems about important happenings that greatly affected them or their ancestors? Or use common sense to prevent disasters? I put this psychology thread into the Science sub forum.

First example - Ten years after the economic crash in the US that caused a global disaster, has US Congress learned anything? It appears not.

https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/13/news/economy/financial-crisis-10-years-later-lehman/index.html

"As president of the nonprofit National Community Reinvestment Coalition, he (John Taylor) warned Congress about the predatory and fraudulent lending that was fueling a housing bubble as early as 2000. Lawmakers told the Federal Reserve to write rules that would have put a stop to the worst practices. But the crash came first." The Financial Crisis Enquiry Commission of 2011 said "it was man-made, predictable and entirely avoidable".

Taylor says it makes no sense that Congress is loosening regulations put in place as prevention. A crisis could happen again. Ten years after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, says another crisis could happen. And no one is listening once again.

All this admin cites is the rising stock market, the high corporate profits, and the low unemployment figures showing the economy has come a long way since Obama did the unthinkable, rescued those corporations "too big to fail", and tried to help homeowners with mortgage modification. Although many fines were paid, critics thought the financial CEOs should have gone to jail, and more should have been done for homeowners.The article explains at length exactly what regulations were started by the Obama admin to fix and prevent.

However, since the recession, blue collar jobs have not totally bounced back, people with bachelors degrees are getting jobs faster than those who have only high school education, home ownership is still low with those who lost homes often having no chance of ever owning again, and cities are booming while the rust belt has fallen behind. The top 10% on the wage scale are prospering more than the rest. "Median household net worth remains below where it stood in 1998, according to the Federal Reserve, even as households take on more debt than ever before. There's also a shortage of affordable housing, a legacy of the drought in both mortgage and construction lending that lasted long after the worst days of the recession had passed."

Why aren't they listening now instead of making things easier for the top 1%?

Another example of ignoring history: We see people denying that the conditions happening over the world politically nowadays have any similarities to Germany in the 1930s where only a minority supported the rise of a maniac because of fear. Some even deny that the Holocaust ever happened. We see some cultures being demonized by those who think the lack of melanin in their skin makes them superior and entitled.

Humankind has a lot of good qualities including compassion, intelligence, and the ability to reason, look at the past, and learn from it. They could have used common sense that would have saved the global economy from disaster.

Third example : humans know from the past the devastation that can happen and can use common sense to get out of the path of monster storms, so why do some stay in spite of warnings and offers of help to get out, and end up losing their lives?

So what are the qualities that hinder many of us from using facts, from heeding warnings, from learning from the past, and using common sense? Indeed what exactly is common sense? We all think we have it.



The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Gabriel82
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 12:37:13 PM

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Common sense is supposed to be the capacity to figure out something simple without being told how.

Human nature is inherently lazy, which explains why some might rather "ride out" a storm than leave when obvious that should be done. Far too many also think it "won't happen" to them, which explains that attitude also.

Sadly, too many have to experience real adversity before they learn to do differently, but even then too many forget very quickly without others to remind them of what went before.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 2:01:57 PM

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High HopeDancing,
Haven't had time to read your post yet; however, I must admit to being compelled to point out that as far as anyone has been able to determine, common sense does not exist. It is a folk tale.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 2:34:36 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
High HopeDancing,
Haven't had time to read your post yet; however, I must admit to being compelled to point out that as far as anyone has been able to determine, common sense does not exist. It is a folk tale.


Lol, Epi. How to stop a thread before it gets started.

But I may even agree with you because it surely seems to be lacking a lot these days.

However, I was thinking along the lines of the definition in Merriam-Webster dictionary -

sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

Or - the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done."

Here's a folk tale about common sense you might enjoy.

https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2000/4/23/anansis-common-sense-a-west-african

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 5:18:33 PM

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Sorry Hope, I don't mean to terminate the thread, and I promise to get around to reading the actual content. You may recall however that part of my major at university was in psychometrics, and the issue of common sense was something of a big deal and a conundrum at the same time. As you say everyone thinks they have it, but when you go looking for the common aspect of it, it disappears. Psychometric instructors in fact, use it to combat students getting "we can measure anything" syndrome by tasking them to come up with even a preliminary instrument that has a chance of resulting in any kind of cohesive, reliable and valid score across a population level sampling. Generations of aspiring psychometricians have tried and failed to come up with one, well at least through the '80s which was when I was current in the field.

I promise though I'll get back to the point of your OP as soon as I can.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2018 9:38:19 PM

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Epi, I was joking about stopping the thread. I will be very interested to hear your point of view because I had no idea it had ever been studied. Please tell us more when you get a chance.

So maybe I shouldn't label it common sense then, but there have to be reasons why people do such things as vote against their own interests, or not listen to advice and warnings of history or experts or the voices of experience.

In the case of deregulation, IMHO that would be in the interests of the corporations and banks who want to make money whether homeowners or loan seekers get hurt or not. They lobby the law makers, and some of those may also profit. Banks and credit companies didn't used to make risky loans. I understand that businesses are there to make money for their investors but corporations are not exactly known for regulating themselves when it comes to their bottom line. It is difficult to know where it becomes labelled as greed. The cause of the recession was definitely greed. I have no idea if it is true or whether or not the attribution is correct, but supposedly LBJ said something similar to the fact that some Republicans often vote against their own best interests because of needing a feeling of superiority when given someone else to blame.

As for history, there would be apathy, denial that the similarities are there, there would even be ignorance when history is not known... What else?

I saw people in South Carolina being interviewed before the Florence storm. One was treating the warning lightly - they always warn us, I've ridden this out before. Hubris? I can do this? Apathy?

A survivor was crying about how awful it was in their attic listening to the cries for help of their neighbours as the flood waters reached up higher and higher at midnight. She was upset that nobody came till 9 am. Although they were warned about the amount of rain and flooding, she said, "We thought a brick house would be safe".. A mother and baby died and the father is in hospital when a tree fell on the house. A further point - the governor told them to come forward if they couldn't afford to leave or had no where to go and they would be helped. So poverty is not an excuse for not seeking safety when they had plenty of warning. So is this again hubris - I know better than the experts? We'll be fine. They put the lives of the rescuers in danger. Maybe if they were warned beforehand that there will be no rescuing, they would listen. No, probably not.

So greed, lack of knowledge, denial, hubris - what other characteristics?


The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:41:27 AM

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Hope wrote:
Why do humans not use facts, heed warnings, and even learn from past mistakes or have short term memory problems about important happenings that greatly affected them or their ancestors? Or use common sense to prevent disasters? I put this psychology thread into the Science sub forum.

First example - Ten years after the economic crash in the US that caused a global disaster, has US Congress learned anything? It appears not.


In this example, I would assert it has far less to do with something that might be called common sense, and far more to do with the machinations of the 1%. I haven't expounded on this notion very much here, partly because it sounds too much like an alarmist conspiracy theory, and partly because even though I highly suspect the validity of the notion, I haven't investigated it sufficiently to assert it authoritatively. This second part is most likely due to just not wanting to know for sure, and the reasons for that are complex, But, you might ask, what the hell is he going on about?

I believe* that, most likely throughout all of history, perhaps since the time of "The Great Pirates", but definitely since the time of the American Industrialists of the late 19th century, that there has been an effort to consolidate wealth and power into the hands of the few.

There is an interesting article at Wikipedia, "Robber Baron (Industrialist)" that discusses some attempts to describe this phenomenon in American history.

I think the phenomenon is real but far more insidious in its modern manifestation. Whether a concerted cooperative effort or just an evolution of strategies on the part of the, so-called, 1%, I believe the problem is real, and also suspect that there is nothing that will be, or even can be, done about it. Everything that I know about coevolutionary processes, and the extrapolation of the current human condition, is far better well known by those at the top. They have actually been investing huge amounts of money into studying all aspects of the human condition, as well as how to manipulate people. Where we are today in the USA is no accident. Even if there were such a thing as common sense, it would be no defense against such informed machinations.

Hope wrote:
Third example: humans know from the past the devastation that can happen and can use common sense to get out of the path of monster storms, so why do some stay in spite of warnings and offers of help to get out, and end up losing their lives?

A prime example of why common sense does not actually exist.



*Ach! There it be! One of the very few things I believe without having an examined; solid, rational, evidential basis for. I know there are a few of these, but I do try to keep them to a minimum.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:19:12 PM

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“Common Sense” is nothing more than intelligence guided by experience. Each generation attempts to pass on the knowledge and experience it gained over the years to the succeeding generations. The reason it is called “common” is because humans have discovered over the millennia that there are certain rules of behavior that always hold true when weighed against the good of our individual selves and our species. Such rules include things like not permitting evil (selfishness) to run rampant, the necessity of fighting against evil (selfishness), yet at the same time fighting for the sanctity and continuation of life. There must be a balance in all things, or we suffer for it.

However, each generation, as it learns, invents, and explores, becomes excited about the future, often views with disdain the ideas of the past, and believes its ideas are better than those it was taught by its elders. This, in turn, causes many to reject tried and true principles, thinking they know better how life should be governed, and lived.

This is the result of selfishness. In the case of politicians, it results from placing selfish desires above what is good for those they allegedly represent. When that happens, laws and regulations are crafted for personal enrichment under the guise of doing good for the people, but which in reality results in social damage. Power corrupts, and that’s why it is important to be very careful to whom we give power. Some can wield it for the benefit of others, but human nature will always move the compass needle back toward the self eventually. And it is selfishness that causes the individual to proclaim that what they think is just "common sense", simply because they believe it. But for it to be truly "common sense", it must be true for everyone.

Freedom permits people to make mistakes, foolish mistakes sometimes, but still, they must be allowed to do so, or freedom is lost, and in the U.S., freedom is still cherished (though it seems to be on an endangered species list at the moment). It is this freedom that permits people to place themselves in danger even while believing themselves competent to overcome in situations such as natural disasters.

So we all know about common sense because we all have been taught most of the ancient rules of behavior, of how to treat others, of how to stay safe, but when we put our own desires above those rules, or we see others doing it, we still wonder how that can be, but the answer is simple: self-centered thinking.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
marina101
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 3:23:43 AM
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Very helpful information
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:32:26 AM

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Hi!
That's a good question - what is it?

To be perfectly 'logical' about it, it's "common" and it's sensible.

That means that either everyone has it (it is common to all people) or most people have it (it's as common as muck).

Since there are no absolutes, we must go for "most people have it".

It's common sense (I think) that you don't do things which are pretty much guaranteed to get you killed (this is the selfish one - just looking at 'myself').
OK, one or two people DO deliberately do things which are guaranteed to get them killed eventually (Evel Knievel, people who believe that THEY can succeed, OK, they may be injured a bit, but not killed) but this idea to NOT do these things is pretty common, and it's sensible.

The difficulty with this is - What is so dangerous it should not be done? This is totally a matter of opinion.

When I was young, climbing trees, exploring caves, playing in the woods was all normal activity for a kid.
I have a worse scar due to falling out of an armchair than I have from falling out of trees or being attacked by wild animals.
Yet now I see people driving their children 400 yards to school instead of letting them walk, insisting on harnesses, gloves and crash-helmets before their children can play in a supervised 'adventure playground'.

Now that's all really "first person" - it's a person making decisions about his/her own self (and a little bit into immediate family)

*****************
When we get into society, we have something similar, but a little more complex.

Common sense to some people is "Don't do anything which is pretty much guaranteed to destroy the society". They consider that, if society is destroyed, their own personal survival is impaired.

However a few (a large few, I think) have a different rule "Don't do anything which reduces MY possessions, even if that means destroying everyone else." They consider that they can be happy with a huge bank account but no civilisation.

It's still really a matter of opinion, and currently we seem to have a majority of the second type in command.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
pasteur
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:25:27 PM

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FounDit wrote:
“Common Sense” is nothing more than intelligence guided by experience.

A wise person can not express a deeper concept in fewer words.
An unwise one will flood the forum with divagations whose only purpose is to swagger and finding flaws in the definition (the definition is flawed mainly because it is not their).
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 1:04:04 PM

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pasteur wrote:
A wise person can not express a deeper concept in fewer words.
An unwise one will flood the forum with divagations whose only purpose is to swagger and finding flaws in the definition (the definition is flawed mainly because it is not their).

That's a pretty good way of ending a discussion - "Anyone who tries to discuss this is unwise. Wise people will not even TRY to discuss it."

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
pasteur
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 1:30:51 PM

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As I see, there's a confusion of meanings between "difference of opinion" and "squabble".
Too many of the postings on this forum are driven by their authors' attempt to make a point, mostly political or ideological. Now, there's nothing wrong with it, except that when they use innuendos, a foul language and a bullish attitude, I'd rather pass. I have enough of this circus in the media.
pasteur
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 1:30:52 PM

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As I see, there's a confusion of meanings between "difference of opinion" and "squabble".
Too many of the postings on this forum are driven by their authors' attempt to make a point, mostly political or ideological. Now, there's nothing wrong with it, except that when they use innuendos, a foul language and a bullish attitude, I'd rather pass. I have enough of this circus in the media.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 5:01:00 AM

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FounDit wrote:
“Common Sense” is nothing more than intelligence guided by experience.

Technically this definition cannot stand as it is too close to the definition of intelligence. I remember learning the most base definition of intelligence is that an organism which modifies its behavior on the basis of experience demonstrates intelligence. TFD defines it, "1. The ability to acquire, understand, and use knowledge:..." I think your definition may be closer to wisdom with maybe only a bit more description. Pardon me FounDit but this whole notion of common sense has been a pet peeve of mine since I first strongly objected to the notion that it did not exist when my psychometrics professor made that claim/challenge in a "Psychological Tests: Structure and Construction" class.

In searching for current views on the issue I came across what may be the best definition I've seen yet.
Common Sense Is Neither Common nor Sense wrote:
Common sense, defined as "sound judgment derived from experience rather than study,"
Acutally, and somewhat surprising for me as it is from Psychology Today (a source I usually find rather weak), I would recommend the article that quote is from.

FounDit wrote:
This is the result of selfishness. In the case of politicians, it results from placing selfish desires above what is good for those they allegedly represent. When that happens, laws and regulations are crafted for personal enrichment under the guise of doing good for the people, but which in reality results in social damage. Power corrupts, and that’s why it is important to be very careful to whom we give power. Some can wield it for the benefit of others, but human nature will always move the compass needle back toward the self eventually. And it is selfishness that causes the individual to proclaim that what they think is just "common sense", simply because they believe it. But for it to be truly "common sense", it must be true for everyone.


In principle I agree with this; however, I think the context is wrong, rather than demonstrating individual selfishness, I think what is at work is a larger, more powerful, and far more insidious dynamic, that alluded to in my response that refers to robber barons.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 5:03:46 AM

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Here's a pretty good commentary on common sense I found when looking for current literature on the issue.
Common Sense Is Neither Common nor Sense

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
srirr
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 6:02:54 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
pasteur wrote:
A wise person can not express a deeper concept in fewer words.
An unwise one will flood the forum with divagations whose only purpose is to swagger and finding flaws in the definition (the definition is flawed mainly because it is not their).

That's a pretty good way of ending a discussion - "Anyone who tries to discuss this is unwise. Wise people will not even TRY to discuss it."


Shall I remain wise? My common sense says perhaps no. Whistle


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 7:39:05 AM

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srirr wrote:
Shall I remain wise? My common sense says perhaps no. Whistle

Applause
Wisdom is an acquired attribute with many facets, Sri RR!

************
I think that FounDit, Epiphileon and I have, each in our own way, stated the problem.

FounDit wrote:
This is the result of selfishness. In the case of politicians, it results from placing selfish desires above what is good for those they allegedly represent. When that happens, laws and regulations are crafted for personal enrichment under the guise of doing good for the people, but which in reality results in social damage.


Epiphileon wrote:
I believe that, most likely throughout all of history, perhaps since the time of "The Great Pirates", but definitely since the time of the American Industrialists of the late 19th century, that there has been an effort to consolidate wealth and power into the hands of the few.
I think the phenomenon is real but far more insidious in its modern manifestation. Whether a concerted cooperative effort or just an evolution of strategies on the part of the, so-called, 1%
. . .


I wrote:
However a few (a large few, I think) have a different rule "Don't do anything which reduces MY possessions, even if that means destroying everyone else." They consider that they can be happy with a huge bank account but no civilisation


I really do think that everyone (even these 'Robber Barons') apply Common Sense as they feel it exists - they do what they feel is for the greatest good.
If we look at an extreme "life or death" situation, some examples would be:
- some people would gladly sacrifice themselves for their children.
- some would gladly sacrifice their children to save their own lives.
- some would be willing to forego a luxurious future to help society (knowing that an improved society will probably improve their own future anyway).
- some would gladly condemn 95% or society to poverty in the hope of a luxurious future for themselves and their family.
- some would destroy the ecosystems of the planet in 200 years for a luxurious lifetime right now.

To all these people "it's common sense", "it's obvious - I don't see how you could think otherwise!"

I feel "Common Sense" to each person is 'their decisions based on intelligence and experience (as FounDit says) but also 'skewed' towards their own attitude about what is most important'.
(Self, family, local society, country/race, Humankind, Ecology, the physical planet, the universe.)

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
FounDit
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 11:32:30 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
pasteur wrote:
A wise person can not express a deeper concept in fewer words.
An unwise one will flood the forum with divagations whose only purpose is to swagger and finding flaws in the definition (the definition is flawed mainly because it is not their).

That's a pretty good way of ending a discussion - "Anyone who tries to discuss this is unwise. Wise people will not even TRY to discuss it."


I don't think it was meant it that way, Drag0nspeaker. I took it as saying he/she thought there was wisdom in the definition, and that an unwise person would argue against the idea that it contained wisdom.

But I could be wrong.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
FounDit
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 12:02:23 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
“Common Sense” is nothing more than intelligence guided by experience.

Technically this definition cannot stand as it is too close to the definition of intelligence. I remember learning the most base definition of intelligence is that an organism which modifies its behavior on the basis of experience demonstrates intelligence. TFD defines it, "1. The ability to acquire, understand, and use knowledge:..." I think your definition may be closer to wisdom with maybe only a bit more description. Pardon me FounDit but this whole notion of common sense has been a pet peeve of mine since I first strongly objected to the notion that it did not exist when my psychometrics professor made that claim/challenge in a "Psychological Tests: Structure and Construction" class.
I think you are overlooking an important point in my post. I didn't posit common sense as an individual trait, but knowledge and experience accumulated by those who went before us; knowledge and experience that they then attempt to pass on to us.

Quote:
"Each generation attempts to pass on the knowledge and experience it gained over the years to the succeeding generations. The reason it is called “common” is because humans have discovered over the millennia that there are certain rules of behavior that always hold true when weighed against the good of our individual selves and our species."
End quote.

This kind of common sense is the type that says family's units are important to survival; that families united create tribes that promote survival; that individual selfishness can be a threat to the survival of both the family and the tribe. Within that framework, there are certain rules of behavior that have been found to be beneficial, and violations of those rules should not be acceptable. No doubt all of us could think of many, but to name just a couple, fratricide, infanticide, and incest would be some.

In searching for current views on the issue I came across what may be the best definition I've seen yet.
Common Sense Is Neither Common nor Sense wrote:
Common sense, defined as "sound judgment derived from experience rather than study,"
Acutally, and somewhat surprising for me as it is from Psychology Today (a source I usually find rather weak), I would recommend the article that quote is from.
I began reading this article, but the author went too quickly into making it about the individual, and as I said, I don't define it that way. Humans don't have genetic memory, and cannot learn from experience until they either have had such, or accept the teachings of their elders. This is where intelligence comes into play. Only our species has the ability to communicate over the millennia of history to their progeny.

FounDit wrote:
This is the result of selfishness. In the case of politicians, it results from placing selfish desires above what is good for those they allegedly represent. When that happens, laws and regulations are crafted for personal enrichment under the guise of doing good for the people, but which in reality results in social damage. Power corrupts, and that’s why it is important to be very careful to whom we give power. Some can wield it for the benefit of others, but human nature will always move the compass needle back toward the self eventually. And it is selfishness that causes the individual to proclaim that what they think is just "common sense", simply because they believe it. But for it to be truly "common sense", it must be true for everyone.


In principle I agree with this; however, I think the context is wrong, rather than demonstrating individual selfishness, I think what is at work is a larger, more powerful, and far more insidious dynamic, that alluded to in my response that refers to robber barons.

You say that,
"... most likely throughout all of history, perhaps since the time of "The Great Pirates", but definitely since the time of the American Industrialists of the late 19th century, that there has been an effort to consolidate wealth and power into the hands of the few."


I would argue that this has been the desire since the beginning of human history. Whether is is the leader of a small group or a king, pharaoh, or Tzar, this has always been so; and it is always self-centered. And people support it, admire it, and envy it. And when the leader is a good one, the people benefit from it.

The same can be said for the so-called "Robber-Barons". Though the benefited selfishly in their endeavors, the whole society ultimately benefited also. This is the positive side of Capitalism. The workers and investors were exploited, but ultimately benefited from it. We are the recipients of all that today. As with everything, there is a positive and negative side, and always will be. Common sense is simply an attempt to point out the positive benefits learned over the millennia and an encouragement to follow the positive rather than the negative. It is precisely that which motivated me to change my signature to what you see below.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 12:19:08 PM

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I suppose I took Pasteur's comment about flooding the forum with divagations as a sign that he/she would consider anything "finding flaws in the definition" to be not "wise" and as a divagation.

Like Pasteur, I've seen enough of that sort of thing in the media.

**************

I understand your idea of "selfishness" as a universal constant - and that 'common sense', this "Well, it's obvious. How could anyone see it another way?" idea is doing what's best for self.

It's just that my idea is that some people consider 'self' to be only that one body.
Most consider it to be a little more than that, and include family - so 'selfishness' includes survival for the family.

Some seem to naturally think with "If I cooperate with others, and make society excellent for everyone, it will be excellent for me too - so it is being selfish to cooperate and improve the planet for everyone."



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Hope123
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 1:24:37 PM

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There are some really good observations in this thread about what "common sense is and if it even exists. I'm glad Marina found the ideas helpful. You are wise Srirr. 😀 Gabriel also answered with some human behaviour observations as to why this saying might be true.



Since humans do have a built in survival mechanism and a mechanism to propitiate the species, it is understandable that every single one of us tends to do what is best for ourselves, so that makes us all "selfish" and as Drago says also see things "'skewed' towards their own attitude about what is most important'". I would tend to call those who think ONLY of themselves as "self-absorbed" or some other such term someone else may suggest.

The Merriam Webster definition of common sense I referred to of "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts" makes "facts" as the operative word. Those facts may be hard to come by but we do need to try.

BTW - A high IQ is not necessary to make sound judgments if one can see and accept the facts. In fact the definition of IQ is only a measurement of whatever information was required on the IQ test - set in the language AND cultural experience of the person taking the test - for a certain period of time on a certain day. No more, no less. The number is not static and is only as good as the test itself. Emotional IQ is also important.

I had not and never would exclude education (study) from experience in the definition of common sense. If you have some education it IS part of your experience. Same as the "school of hard knocks" or travelling broadens your education. And it would also include the ability to trust the vetted experts who have done the "time" in their field where it would be impossible to do the research yourself and have that experience. Then you would include their information as part of your knowledge, just as remembering history is important.

To me what the pop "Psychology Today" article said was in my words and understanding:
If we don't start with an open mind, are not receptive to answers we don't want to hear, do not have the knack for seeing things as they REALLY are and not as we wish them to be and therefore do not do things as they ought to be done, and exclude the wisdom and experience of the past or the knowledge of experts, then we are not operating with ANY kind of "sense". I like the idea of teaching the scientific method to all children, starting in preschool, but I'm not sure they don't already do that.

I don't really believe in Karma but hope that those who operate with no regard for anyone else, (like SOME of the 1% and those in power over others) even committing legal or moral crimes against others, find that some day their brand of "common sense", putting themselves and their families completely over anyone else, will come back to haunt them.

If some weren't willing to take the business risks with their money, there would be no benefit to anyone and therefore they should be compensated. But they do need to be regulated as self-regulation does not work too well. That said, many of the 1% DO set up and donate to making the world a better place for all. Most got an education, worked hard often 70 hours a week or more, took risks, had good ideas, but were lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I don't begrudge those their success. It is those who manipulate, lie, cheat, steal, bribe, use and walk over others to get to the top or get their brand of political power in place that make me wish Karma existed.

My view is that there is common sense but we just don't always have it or use it for the millions of decisions we make over a life time.

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
FounDit
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 5:21:14 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I suppose I took Pasteur's comment about flooding the forum with divagations as a sign that he/she would consider anything "finding flaws in the definition" to be not "wise" and as a divagation.

Like Pasteur, I've seen enough of that sort of thing in the media.

**************

I understand your idea of "selfishness" as a universal constant - and that 'common sense', this "Well, it's obvious. How could anyone see it another way?" idea is doing what's best for self.

It's just that my idea is that some people consider 'self' to be only that one body.
Most consider it to be a little more than that, and include family - so 'selfishness' includes survival for the family.
Right - what helps the family survive also tends to increase our own survival as well. But the word "selfish" usually conveys the idea of thinking of one's own self to the exclusion of others, and that is considered a negative trait, of course. But I think of it in the more philosophical sense of using the self as a starting point in considering how one interacts with the world.

Some seem to naturally think with "If I cooperate with others, and make society excellent for everyone, it will be excellent for me too - so it is being selfish to cooperate and improve the planet for everyone."
And to the degree that it serves us, it is true. Ultimately, we all think of what is good for us as individuals, even when we are doing something for, or considering, others because what we do beneficially redounds to us.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2018 3:48:29 AM

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I don't agree fully there - you must agree there are instances of someone deliberately doing something to save the family (or the nation, or Humankind even) which is 100% certain to kill themselves.
That is not doing what is good for self as an individual.
However that is not what I'd consider 'common sense'.

To me, really, I suppose that 'common sense' comes down to "knowing what is the right thing to do - the thing which will help (or at least not harm) oneself, the family, one's groups, the species, the planet - without having to ruminate and contemplate for more than a very brief time".

A simple problem - I have an egg sitting at the bottom of a pot of boiling water.
Someone with common sense picks up the spoon on the table and takes the egg out (or, failing a spoon, picks up the pot and empties the water out) and eats the egg.

Someone without common sense thinks - "now, if I stick my hand in there I'll get scalded . . .
and if I wait for the water to cool down, the egg will be cold too . . . I could turn the heat up to full and evaporate all the water away, but might burn the house down . . . and maybe I could get someone else to stick their hand in the boiling water . . . but that's a bit nasty . . . no what I'll do is . . . no, that doesn't work."

*************
A more complex one:
There is a new source of energy - a personal, watch-sized fission generator. It will make the developer a fortune, but anyone using it will die in thirty years.

Someone with common sense (I think) would publish the research widely (including the dangers) in the hope that someone would find a safe way to get all this energy - possibly this person would invest in a company researching it.

Someone with no common sense would promote the gadget, without mentioning the dangers, and die along with everyone else.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2018 10:29:44 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I don't agree fully there - you must agree there are instances of someone deliberately doing something to save the family (or the nation, or Humankind even) which is 100% certain to kill themselves.
That is not doing what is good for self as an individual.
However that is not what I'd consider 'common sense'.
There are, of course, people who will sacrifice themselves for members of their family, and often for other members of the human race (soldiers come to mind who volunteer with the knowledge they may very well die). However, common sense would tell us that it is better that we don't die in defense of others so we can continue to be of help to them. That's all common sense would say.

To me, really, I suppose that 'common sense' comes down to "knowing what is the right thing to do - the thing which will help (or at least not harm) oneself, the family, one's groups, the species, the planet - without having to ruminate and contemplate for more than a very brief time".

A simple problem - I have an egg sitting at the bottom of a pot of boiling water.
Someone with common sense picks up the spoon on the table and takes the egg out (or, failing a spoon, picks up the pot and empties the water out) and eats the egg.
And here, the common sense I describe that would be passed down from previous generations would be to use a spoon (or tongs, anything but a hand...Brick wall ).

Someone without common sense thinks - "now, if I stick my hand in there I'll get scalded . . .
and if I wait for the water to cool down, the egg will be cold too . . . I could turn the heat up to full and evaporate all the water away, but might burn the house down . . . and maybe I could get someone else to stick their hand in the boiling water . . . but that's a bit nasty . . . no what I'll do is . . . no, that doesn't work."

*************
A more complex one:
There is a new source of energy - a personal, watch-sized fission generator. It will make the developer a fortune, but anyone using it will die in thirty years.

Someone with common sense (I think) would publish the research widely (including the dangers) in the hope that someone would find a safe way to get all this energy - possibly this person would invest in a company researching it.
I agree. Someone with common sense would have the understanding from previous generations that if life is to continue, one would not do something to destroy it.

Someone with no common sense would promote the gadget, without mentioning the dangers, and die along with everyone else.
This would be an instance of putting the self above the interests of others - true selfishness, such as that of the politicians I noted, not the kind I described as preserving the self by benefiting others.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018 1:59:21 AM

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Common sense was responsible for Donald Trump and Brexit.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018 12:06:59 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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pedro wrote:
Common sense was responsible for Donald Trump and Brexit.


You made me laugh, pedro. I had an instant image of someone swatting a hornet's nest come to mind.

We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 1:31:38 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
pedro wrote:
Common sense was responsible for Donald Trump and Brexit.

Yes, exactly!
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Whistle

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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